The main purpose of your bed is to support your body during sleep, when most of your muscles are completely relaxed and do not perform their usual function of supporting the spine.
It is very important to choose the correct firmness of your mattress, which must be neither too soft or too rigid in order to give adequate support to the spine and allow a correct position of your body.
The quality of your sleep depends very much on choosing the correct firmness, so let us give it some thought. As a general rule you need to consider 2 factors:
- your weight, or better your body mass index (BMI) which takes into account both your weight and your height
- the position you assume during sleep
Body Mass Index
Lighter and smaller people tend to prefer softer mattresses, while heavier and larger people tend to prefer firmer mattresses. This is due mainly to the fact that heavier and larger people need more support which only a firmer mattress often provides.
To gauge how light and small or heavy and large you are it is often customary to use the Body Mass Index which takes into account both your weight and height.
The second important factor to consider in choosing the firmness of your mattress is your sleeping position.
While the BMI calculated above gives you an general orientation, you should also take into account your usual sleeping position and adjust your choice accordingly. Here is our suggestion.
People who sleep on their side should stick with the firmness suggested by their BMI. This is the firmness that provides the most adequate support to keep your spine aligned while keeping your shoulders and hips from feeling too much pressure.
People who sleep on their side and lament frequent shoulder pain are probably using too firm a mattress and/or too low a pillow. They should choose a mattress that is a bit softer than the one suggested by their BMI.
People who sleep on their stomach often prefer firmer mattresses. This is because too soft a mattress allows their body to sink into the mattress putting undue pressure on the spine. They should choose a mattress that is a bit softer than the one suggested by their BMI.
People who sleep on their back should choose a mattress that is a bit firmer than the one suggested by their BMI.